Almost six years ago, I left a corporate job at one of the top-rated Fortune 500 companies in the nation to start a business.
The two-hour bus commute, feeling pooped out all the time, and the impact both of these had on my family and life in general had made me question staying at my job. But what ultimately booted my booty out the door was the feeling I had while I was at work. Not only were those grey cubicles drab and ugly, they sucked me dry down to the bones — emotionally, creatively and intellectually. Aesthetically, too!
Plus, I was in my early 40s and wrestling the age-old question, “What are you doing with your life? What do you really want?”
Perhaps like you, I craved work in line with my values, priorities, and talents — stuff that came easily to me. I wanted to define success for myself, which meant being happy with my life as well as my livelihood. And I wanted time not only with family and friends, but — frankly — with myself!
When I left my job, I expected a somewhat rocky transition but also plenty of good stuff, too. And I got it! A lot of things were new, exciting and fun.
What shocked me, though, was how often I felt insecure about what I was doing — even who I was. Whereas I had my old job down pat, the entrepreneurial road was less traveled and often graveled with — dagnabbit! — feeling not up to snuff.
Sometimes, I wondered, “Do I really have what it takes? Am I qualified? Can I do this?” This happened especially when:
- I mustered the courage to go to professional meetings but — despite outward confidence — felt stiff and on edge
- I met with a potential client (or, scarier) talked with her on the phone and worried I’d mess it up. I needed the income, I tell ya!
- I did bring in money but told myself I’d never make real money. Even worse, I had a nagging feeling I didn’t deserve to get what I wanted.
- I did things a gazillion times over or went really slowly as I rewrote emails, fretted far too long over client work, dilly dallied out of sheer procrastination, etc.
Overall I just had a feeling of being “not enough” — smart enough, successful enough, whatever enough. You name it, I was lacking (especially compared to Amazing Women Entrepreneurs on Facebook).
But from where I am today, several years later, I see it differently — with less judgment and more compassion for myself. For you, too.
Because you might experience some of these very same feelings. Chances are, you do! Research shows that smart, high-achieving women feel more self-doubt than the average Jane. Grander expectations are tough to reach especially when the MO is to beat ourselves up for “failures.”
What kind of crazy is that?
Sweet news is, along with compassion, I’ve picked up lots of tools that help me shift perfectionism, inner critics, procrastination and other pesky problems we gals face. The more I use these tools, the more skillfully, consistently and confidently grow my business.
I want to share these with you! In my next post, I will tell you exactly how I learned to convert self-doubt into confident action (and how you can, too).
But for now, a question.
Can you relate to my story? How does insecurity or “not enough” show up for you?